Are you planning a long car journey with the kids? Or maybe just looking for some ideas to pass the time on the daily drive to school? We asked our Mykidstime parents for their suggestions – here are 30 of the Most Entertaining Car Ride Games for Kids aged 8-12 years, sure to prevent you hearing “Are we there yet?!”
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#1. Car Alphabet
The classic amongst all car games for kids! Try to spot words on road signs in the order of the alphabet as you travel.
(You can skip tricky letters such as Q or X or Z).
“I used to play this with my parents all the time on car journeys. Luckily there was a Dairy Queen on our most usual route!”
#2. The Minister’s Cat
An old Victorian game where you have to think of adjectives to describe the Minister’s Cat in alphabetical order, e.g. start with “The minister’s cat is an adorable cat”. The next person says e.g. “The minister’s cat is an adorable cat and a bouncy cat” and so on.
#3. Car Colours
All in car choose a colour and then start counting the cars that correspond with your colour and see who wins.
#4. Car Snooker
You have to spot the cars in the same order as you pot the balls for snooker: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and finally black.
“The pink can take a looooong time”
#5. Sing Songs
Try singing a few round songs like Frere Jacques or 3 Blind Mice.
10 Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall or 10 Fat Sausages Sizzing In the Pan is another family favourite.
Or there are the classics like “Somewhere over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz or “My Favourite Things” from The Sound of Music.
“One starts a song and they all join in when you call their name, we have a special car song they all love”
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#6. I Went To The Shops
Memory game where each person adds to the shopping list. First person says e.g. “I went to the shops and bought a pint of milk”. Second person says “I went to the shops and bought a pint of milk and some butter” and so on.
Related: Download our free Car Journey Games to occupy the kids in the car
Start a story and then everyone has a turn where they have to add to the story starting their sentence with “fortunately” or “unfortunately” depending on the turn.
“The stories can get really convoluted!”
#8. Scissors, Paper, Stone
Game for 2 people, on the count of 3 each person shows their hand in the shape of either scissors (snipping fingers), paper (flat hand) or stone (fist).
Scissors beats paper as they cut paper, paper beats stone as paper can wrap the stone up and stone beats scissors as the stone can blunt the scissors.
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#9. Listen to a Podcast
Alternatively, subscribe to Audible.co.uk or Audible.com which allows you to download books for a monthly subscription. Free trial available and you can cancel subscription at any time. The app is available on Android and iOS.
#10. I Spy
The spy picks an object and gives a clue to the rest by saying “I Spy with My Little Eye Something Beginning with (letter)”.
The rest of the travellers take it in turns to guess what the other person spies.
“The only thing with I Spy is you have to be quick or you could be gone past it. My kids love it”
You might also enjoy: 5 Fun Ideas for Kids in the Car
#11. Car Years
Everyone in the car chooses a year and then starts counting the cars that correspond with your year and see who wins. “Great way to kill an hour or two”
#12. Guess Who (Botticelli)
Take it in turns to think of a person and the others have to guess who it is asking only questions that can be answered Yes or No.
“We always start by asking Do we know this person personally?”
#13. Twenty Questions
First person thinks of something that’s either Animal, Vegetable or Mineral and the others have 20 questions to guess what it is. Questions must only have a Yes or No answer.
#14. Follow the Journey
Give your child the road atlas and have them trace your journey on the map as you go. Or use your smartphone and Google Maps and have them follow the blue circle as you go.
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#15. Alice the Camel
You recite a verse: “Alice the camel had ten humps, Alice the camel had ten humps, Alice the camel had ten humps, so ride Alice ride.” Repeat the verse until you reach the number zero.
“It is best fun when it is sung really fast!”
#16. Geography Game
First person starts with a geographic place name and the next person has to think of a place name that starts with the last letter of the previous place. So e.g. BlackrocK – KilbeggaN – NicE – EdinburgH. See how far round the world you can get!
#17. Name the Theme Tune
Take it in turns to hum a famous theme tune or sing it in a different style. The first person to guess the answer wins.
#18. Make Up Limericks
Have a go at making up limericks, a limerick has five lines; the first, second, and fifth rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth rhyme with each other.
Here’s one by Edward Lear:
There was an Old Man with a beard
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
#19. Make up Haikus about the Journey
A Haiku should have seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five. This is not as easy as it sounds. Learn more about haikus here.
#20. Animal Spotting
Give the children a list of animals to watch out for, eg a cow, a horse, a sheep, a bird on a wire. The first person to see the entire set wins the game.
#21. Draw a Map of the Journey
Have each child draw their own version of the map of the journey as you go on a piece of paper, marking the key things you see on the way.
#22. Guess the Number
Take it in turns to think of a number between 1 and 1,000, keeping it to yourself. The others then take it in turns to guess at what the number is. Each time they are wrong you reply “higher” or “lower” until the correct number is guessed.
#23. Create a Group Story
First person starts the story e.g. “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess” or something more unusual like “Cassie the Camel was miserable”. Each person in the car adds a line and the story builds and builds. Once you reach your destination the kids could write out and illustrate the story.
#24. Alphabet Animals
Each player takes it in turns to name an animal as you go through the alphabet. E.g. Anteater, Bear, Cow, etc.
You can also play Alphabet place names, Alphabet food & drink, Alphabet girls names and Alphabet boys names.
Hit the “scan” button on your radio until it stops on a song and everyone tries to guess the artist, the first person to guess wins. You could also do this with shuffle on your phone music or iPod.
#26. Tongue Twisters
Choose someone you all know then start with a phrase that uses on the first letter of their name. E.g. Peter picks peppers. Take it in turns to add P words with as few connectors as possible to make a super tongue twister.
Or have a go at some of the classics like She Sells Seashells on the Seashore or Unique New York.
#27. Quick Add Up
Call out the numbers on a registration plate and see who can add up the numbers the quickest. For example 10-D-11000 everyone has to add 1+0+1+1=3.
#28. Spelling Bee
Each person in the car takes turns spelling a word. If they spell the word correctly, they remain in the game. If they spell the word incorrectly, they’re eliminated. Keep spelling until you are left with the champion.
#29. Where in the World am I?
One person picks a place to hide (in their imagination!) and then the rest have to can guess where in the world you are with questions that can be answered Yes or No.
#30. Two Truths and a Lie
Each person shares three statements, one of which is false and two of which are true. Everyone else has to guess which is the lie.
Over to you now! Have you got a favourite car game or activity that your kids enjoy on journeys? Share it with us in the comments below.